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Peach Panzanella Salad

Yiwei Li

Originating from farmers in 16th century Tuscany, panzanella salad was made with ingredients pulled straight from the ground. This summer favorite relies on simple fresh ingredients to create a salad that is truly delicious. But, I have some good news for you: this is a bread salad. Yes, you heard that right. A bread salad. With the anticipation of tomato and peach season, this is the perfect way to showcase seasonal summer produce and of course, bread.

Salad:

2-3 tomatoes (preferably heirloom), diced

½ of red onion, thinly sliced

1 loaf of slightly stale bread (Italian, ciabatta, or baguette), cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ cup fresh basil, torn

½ cucumber, halved and sliced

½ ball of mozzarella

1 peach, diced

Vinaigrette:

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar/champagne vinegar

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:

Chop the bread into 1-inch cubes. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and toast the bread over medium to high heat until golden and crispy.

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper until well incorporated. Combine the chopped tomatoes, peaches, red onion, cucumber, mozzarella, basil, and toasted bread in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss well to combine. Let the panzanella sit for 10-20 minutes, tossing occasionally to allow the bread to soak up the dressing prior to serving.

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Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea Burger

Emily Stevens

Creating a veggie burger that is flavorful and holds its shape is no small feat. We believe we’ve achieved the seemingly impossible with these chickpea burgers infused with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. Topped with a simple garlic basil aioli, this plant-based entrée is easy to prepare and even easier to eat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor or blender, combine one 15 oz can of chickpeas (rinsed, drained, patted dry), ½ cup chopped red onion, 4 cloves minced garlic, ⅓  cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 cup packed fresh parsley and blend until smooth. Transfer chickpea mixture to a medium bowl. Add ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 egg, salt, and pepper to taste and mix until everything is evenly incorporated. If the mixture remains too wet, add breadcrumbs by tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate the mixture for half an hour to make the burgers easier to shape. Using dampened hands, shape into 4-6 patties, each about ½ inch thick and place onto a parchment paper-lined pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping half-way through until golden brown. While the burgers bake, pulse 1 cup fresh basil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in food processor to create the aioli. Serve on your favorite bun with your toppings of choice; we were craving a poppy seed bun with fresh microgreens, heirloom tomato, red onion, and a drizzle of the garlic basil aioli.

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Food Allergies at BC

I was the kid who could never eat the cake at birthday parties. I was the kid who had to always have the school nurse accompany me by my side on all the class field trips. I was the kid who was forced to sit at the “peanut-free” lunch table in elementary school. I was the kid who had mastered the “fine” art of injecting an Epipen. This was all because peanuts were and are still the enemy. Well, not just peanuts. Peanuts, tree nuts, soy, beans, seeds; the list goes on endlessly. Having dozens of severe food allergies has become second nature to me at this point, for I have grown up having them throughout my entire life. And although I am completely accustomed and in control of them right now, growing up with food allergies was not always the easiest task. I used to think of myself as “weird.” An outcast. An anomaly. It took awhile for me to understand that food allergies are more common than you may think, and while they can be life threatening and sometimes an inconvenience, I came to realize that there are far worse conditions out there in the world.

Growing up, my allergist (a man who I visited quite often) taught me about the “Big Four.” Not the group of top Allied leaders from World War I, but rather the top four most dangerous types of food places for people with severe nut allergies to go to. In no particular order, they are as follows; ice cream shops, bakeries, candy stores and dining halls. Ice cream shops because they often do not sterilize the scooper and cross-contamination between peanut butter ice cream and other flavors can easily occur. Bakeries because nut-containing desserts are often made on the same equipment as other products. Candy stores because there are usually not ingredients printed for each item. And dining halls for a combination of the three previous reasons; the risks of cross-contamination, shared equipment and/or the lack of posted ingredients. This is not to say that all ice cream shops, bakeries, candy stories and dining halls are a no-no for people with severe nut allergies. It is just to say that they are places that should be preceded with caution and careful consideration.

Upon coming to Boston College, I knew that it contained one of the “Big Four”: dining halls. Both my parents and I were apprehensive about dealing with my various food allergies here. I was aware of everything that was safe to eat at home, but going to a new place with new foods was a notion that gave us all some worry. I had never really eaten in a large dining hall before, and was anxious to know what I could eat, as well as how carefully BC Dining handles food allergies. Before moving in my parents and I joked about how I was going to have to find the “peanut-free” table at the dining hall. The “peanut-free” table is one of my childhood memories that I cringe to look back at. Back in elementary school I was forced by the school nurse to sit at this table. Although it probably was not, my haunted mind remembers it as being isolated in the deep, dark corner of the lunchroom. I was allowed to bring only one friend to sit with me, and I was even required to eat my lunch on a special placemat given to me by the school nurse that read, “NO PEANUTS” in bold, black letters and had pictures of dancing peanuts with fat red X’s over them. In short, it was humiliating.

After moving in freshman year I met with Kathryn Sweeney, one of the nutritionists here at Boston College with a speciality in food allergies. After meeting with her, I felt so much more at ease. She gave me various handouts on what foods/stations were safe given my specific allergies and even added me to a food allergy focus group. And although I was slightly humiliated at the time, I got a detailed tour of the stations at Mac dining hall as well as the kitchens in the back to show me just how careful they are with how cook their foods. Fun fact: there is a secret fridge in the back he showed me that is filled with allergen-free foods, and I was informed that I am have special permission to walk back and grab stuff from it whenever I liked.

Allergies are one of those things that most people don’t think twice about. Yet I’d like to think that having them, and many of them in my case, has made me much more careful and apt to pay attention to the details.

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In the Name of Late Night

Allie Coon

Past the hour of 9 pm on a Friday or Saturday night, hungry BC students no longer trek to Lower and Mac for sustenance. They journey, quite intentionally, to Late Night. The label shift- subtle but ubiquitous- signals that a kind of weekly transformation takes place in the hallowed halls of BC dining. And perhaps it does.

To an outsider, the dining halls themselves don’t feel much changed, though the smell of frying oil is slightly more prominent than usual. The décor is limited, and your dining options are arranged in rows of the same metal trays most of us have seen since hot lunch in elementary school. In front of these hangs a long plate of glass, a faint reminder of the ever-present threat of norovirus on the petri dish of a campus which we all call home.

This austerity is not a direct signal of quality- there are esteemed restaurants which operate out of subway stations or grocery stores or farms. But Late Night does not provide a culinary experience in the same ways that these do. Your mozzarella sticks will be called mozz sticks, and the cheese within will stretch roughly as long as their abbreviated name. You will be unsure, at times, if your chicken strips are cooked all the way through. Your French fries will be more potato than Pomme frite, and your flatbread most likely will not transport you back to your semester abroad in Parma. Neither the food, nor the location, nor the ambience seem particularly worthy of being rallied around. Yet, when BC dining attempted to change late night at the beginning of this year-replacing chicken strips with sandwiches and mozz sticks with wraps- rallying is exactly what we did.

The Late Night insider is not looking for Italy or acai bowls or the types of civilized culture that the core curriculum so eagerly attempts to impress upon us. The night has gotten too boring, too loud, too busy, or you are, quite simply, very hungry. As you ascend the steps to Addie’s or approach the counters at Mac, fluorescent lights and glowing menu boards illuminate your friends’ faces. You notice where your makeup has melted off in places, you hide behind your roommates from that guy you hate in Globalization. You can hear everything clearly, for probably the first time since you left the house that evening. The voices of your peer’s blend together into the night’s final song.

The food in front of you glows with what you crave: fat and salt and warmth. You are free to order fried carbs in all their glorious forms without the haunting specters of the salad bar and the hordes of students returning from the Plex. A server hands you a plastic boat of food, holding it high like a bowl of holy hosts. Freezers hum with Powerade (your personal cup of blessing) and containers of leftover cake. You stand in the middle of it all, uncontained. The promises of university life are delivered in flawed and fleeting glory- because this is late night, after all, and you weren’t expecting much.

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Publick House: A Traditional Temptation

María Clara Cobo

Before house-made infusions of muddled herbs and huge plates scattered with colorful, high-fiber ingredients became trendy, The Publick House welcomed Bostonians to experience the art of the golden Belgian craft-beer and crispy, greasy, carb-loaded dishes.

In the mid 1800s, Irish pubs started to become popular in the United States, with around 46 percent of all immigrants coming from Ireland. Newcomers, fleeing from the potato famine that took over their country, often visited pubs, which served as places for entertainment in order to cope with their struggles as they settled in a new country. Irish pubs then became centers of community and entertainment, a tradition that has long lived to this day.

When looking for an Irish pub in Boston, the problem is not so much finding one as it is deciding on which one to visit. Our small corner of the country has over one hundred medieval-looking pubs scattered amidst the modern buildings of the city. This precisely why it is extremely important to know how to choose your bar. It might be tempting to step inside the overcrowded pubs that line the streets of Faneuil Hall and the Financial Center. But if you venture on the T through the green line, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you find The Publick House.

The dark oak-bar and the arched windows, make this temple of beer seem like a treasured antiquity, but the Brookline pub has skillfully created an authentic culinary scene, drawing a stream of hungry customers through its black-bordered doors for the past fifteen years.

At the Publick House, beer geeks and football fans alike hustle to find a spot. A wall, stacked with bottles full of different tones of amber liquid, looms over the tightly spaced tables, dimly lit by a faint candle. Laughter and conversations overpower the music. Loud voices swirl to the beat of the waiters’ rushed steps, moving from table to table, making sure to keep the plates and glasses full.  

No matter the time, the Publick House seems to encapsulate the entire city of Boston in one place. I looked around the busy tables. A family wearing BC sports gear passing around a hot skillet whose barbeque infused scent roamed its way around an old couple eating side by side, hunched over their meals as they studied the piles of ingredients stacked inside their burgers. A group of young men collapsing with helpless laughter as they sipped on their heavy glasses of beer, next to a couple who seemed to be struggling to hear what they had to say. Yes, the noise level can be high, but it’s an essential part of the ambience.

Although the restaurant is renown for its craft-beers, you won’t see shots or pitchers here, just as the the vigilant sign perched above the back bar says. Awarded 2010 Best Beer List by Boston Magazine, the Publick House offers nearly 200 different types of beers and ale, the vast majority of them from Belgium and Germany, and as tasty as the food they are served with.

As iron skillets, loaded with a mysterious mixture of food, dripping hot cheese off of their sides, make their way out of the kitchen, it was impossible to choose what to order. The menu is divided by sections, including an entire section dedicated to add-ons. However, the appetizer section is the best reflection of the Publick House’s cuisine. Most dishes are an ode to potatoes and cheese, making everyone surrender to the temptation of breaking the streak with their healthy-eating habits.

The monks frites had my name written all over them, and it was definitely one of our favorites. Hand-cut Yukon potatoes are double-fried until golden brown, served in a traditional Belgian paper cone, dusted with sea salt and come with a choice of two dressings. We ordered the truffle ketchup and the blue cheese dip. Steam rose from the velvet-red ketchup container and cheese oozed from the inside of the blue cheese. I couldn’t resist to combine both flavors, saturating the potatoes in the rich and gooey sauces. The warm mixture was pure ambrosia in my mouth, so delicious that I even dared to double dip the chip.

We followed our server’s recommendation for our next selection from the appetizer section: a short-rib stew on an iron skillet. I was pretty skeptical of this particular dish because by the description, it seemed as if the chef had tossed every single ingredient in the kitchen: oven roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables blended with slow-cooked short rib immersed in sweet barbeque sauce and topped with a fried egg. I was disappointed when I cut through the yolk and the drool worthy goodness of a perfect fried egg didn’t appear. But even though the egg was a bit overcooked, the thin slices of meat were fabulously succulent and tender, melting in my mouth with the crunchy crust of the potatoes.

The harvest salad was the ideal half-time star of the show. A pile of greens laying next to a steaming short-rib skillet and golden fried potatoes, this salad still managed to appeal to our tastes. The combination of the dark and leafy arugula, tossed with fresh apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese and roasted walnuts was a refreshing break from the overwhelmingly heavy start. Still, we could not leave without having a bite of the famous Publick House Burger. Unlike the other dishes, this one allows customers to create their own burger, stacking it up with all of their favorite ingredients. In fact, there is an entire section in the menu devoted to list all the different ingredients you can add to it. There is an ample selection of dressings, including bacon horseradish aioli, and a Wostyntje beer mustard to bring you back to the award-winning beverage that has earned the restaurant its fame. A few extras, such as caramelized onions, grilled Portobello and avocado are also available to decorate your beef patty. Despite all the possible add-ons, I think the burger itself was neglected in the process; the beef didn’t have a lot of personality, as it was missing a touch of seasoning. Nevertheless, when I took my first bite, it exploded with a chin-dripping juice that marked my satisfaction.

Few Irish pubs are packed on a late Saturday afternoon. The Publick House is definitely one of them. It normally comes alive every day from the moment the clock strikes 5 p.m., offering their never-ending selection of craft-beers and their potato-loaded dinner menu. However, weekends are special at the Publick House, since they are open for brunch until 4 p.m. before the dazzling Boston nightlife takes over the casual lunch scene.

The Publick House, 1648 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445

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Cafe Landwer: Giving Israeli Cuisine A Home In Boston

Michaela Santillo

In the months prior to its opening, Cafe Landwer enticed me with its large glass windows, bold yellow letters, and industrial charm As soon as it opened, I grabbed some friends and decided to give this inviting addition to Brookline a try. Right across the Reservoir T-Stop, this charming cafe stands out amidst the mostly subdued Cleveland Circle.

Though you now know it as Cafe Landwer, the chain started as Landwer Coffee in Germany in 1919. After fleeing the Nazis to Tel Aviv in 1933, Moshe Landwer created Israel’s first coffee chain. In 2004, Cafe Landwer became the company’s first foray into casual dining, with the Cleveland Circle location being the United States’ second. Although it’s now operated by Federman and Sons, it’s still deeply rooted in its core as an Israel-based chain boasting a variety of flavors that don’t typically appear in a conventional Boston brunch. Tradition and quality are at the heart of the company, and it shows. But don’t be fooled—traditional does not mean boring. While they have classics like Shakshuka and the Landwer Breakfast at locations around the world, they make sure to stay locationally relevant by providing in-vogue offerings, like their açai bowl and Nutella latte.

The Landwer Breakfast and Vegan Breakfast are parallels of each other, with the necessary swaps to make the vegan dish fulfill its name. Each of the included dips offers an unique flavor: the tahini with salsa had twangy punch, the eggplant & tahini spread provided a more subdued blend, the cream cheese provided a more plaine palate pleaser, and the labneh with za’atar & chickpeas had a refreshing cleanliness. As a non-vegan, I was wary of the vegan yogurt with fruit jam. To my surprise, the consistency was smooth. The root salad that accompanied the dishes has a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. The chickpea flour quinoa omelette was a perfect substitute, nay, the preferred substitute, and the classic omelette actually fell short in comparison.

The menu incorporates an extensive range of other dishes that explore classics in a new and enticing way. I’ve had more than a few açai bowls in my time, but Landwer’s rendition stood out. Beyond the delightful aesthetics that the parallel lines of perfectly crisped coconut, chia seeds, banana, and granola offered, the super-berry base provided a powerful and energizing foundation for the bowl.

Biting into the pancakes was like resting your head on your favorite pillow: a perfect mix of stable and airy. These served as an ideal base for the accoutrements: Nutella, whipped butter, maple syrup, and fresh fruit.

The Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese mini breakfast sandwich served this pleasing pairing on a bun, which was a refreshing swap for the expected bagel base.

A seemingly simple tomato-based baked egg dish, the Mediterranean Shakshouka shocked me with its bold flavor. The tomatoes had an element of umami only achievable through a low and slow roasting process; the crumbled feta’s acidity cut through this flavor masterfully. The poached egg was cooked through just enough: solid whites while maintaining the runny yolk that broke when I plunged my bread into it.  

Due to its roots as a coffee shop, Cafe Landwer boasts a robust beverage menu with a mix of classics and current trends. The cappuccino charmed with its full-bodied and balanced flavor, making for a comforting, pleasant experience. The nutella latte had a perfectly sweet, rich flavor to it without feeling overly indulgent. For those with a strong— and I mean strong—love of coffee, the Turkish coffee will not disappoint. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more fruity, The Famous Iced Tea was essentially a virgin Sangria: a sweet berry-like drink chalked-full of finely chopped fresh apples and oranges. For a bit of frozen fun, the Spirulina Smoothie subtly incorporates the famed superfood spirulina with an accompanying almond-milk aftertaste.Our visit involved pleasant conversation with the General Manager as well as our well-informed waiter. The passion that came from both of them was palpable, and came through in the service and quality of food. They’ve even decided to have chefs come in from Israel to spice up the menu with some new dishes that I can’t wait to return and try. The meal itself was a flavor-filled odyssey. My taste buds went on a journey similar to Moshe Landwer himself: started in Europe, settled in Israel, and then went on to discover new things in North America. As you adventure through Cafe Landwer’s menu, be sure to taste what makes them unique; though their açai bowl and omelette were decent, it’s ultimately their speciality dishes that capture the heart of both the restaurant and the customer.

Cafe Landwer, 383 Chestnut Hill Ave, Boston, MA 02135

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Country Roads

Ileana Lobkowicz

My introduction to Indian food was a pretty average chicken tikka masala from Tandoor, a respectable establishment in my neighborhood that prides itself on providing customers with “an aromatic dining experience.” Tandoor was convenient to pick up on a busy day and varied the monotony of fajitas, pasta, or stew that rotated our family dinner menus. It came in metal tetra pack containers, scribbled with “rice biryani” or “extra garlic naan,” (at my brother’s behest). I’m not sure when my fascination for India first began. I had no tangible connection to the country, yet I had this itching desire to learn more about it beyond the realm of food—a feeling I knew wouldn’t be satiated by Tandoor, no matter how buttery the naan. My yearning led me to go on a creative writing workshop in India where I was met with an authenticity that I craved and an experience I couldn’t predict.

Titu is a renaissance man. There is seemingly nothing he can’t do. Throughout our month-long trip, he played the role of guide, teacher, and sometimes chef. On this particular night, he played the host: inviting a group of 12 college students and a professor to his home for dinner.

The walk to Titu’s house was a leisurely one, a mere 10 minutes down the winding gravel road we took from our abode, nestled in the hill station of Mussoorie, India. Enveloped by a canvas of thick pine forest and the distant horizon of the Himalayas, we veered off the main path as Titu led us down the mountainside forming the road. We made our way down a dangerously steep set of makeshift stairs to a collection of dilapidated metal storage sheds. They were morphed and crested into the earth as if they were one.

Titu’s home was lined with a walkway covered by an awning—big enough to shield from the region’s unexpected rainstorms while still revealing the breathtaking view. We took off our shoes outside and entered one of the several compartment-like rooms. We were welcomed by a small woman with piercing brown eyes, sheathed in a sari that draped her body in delicate layers. Titu’s mother imprinted a red bindi on each of our foreheads as we formed a procession as if meeting a head of state. We were presented with a basket of shawls from which we were to choose—a gift from host to guest.

We were gestured to settle on the floor, lined with unmatched carpets and small pillows. The looming loft where Titu slept suspended above us as we crammed ourselves in a conglomerate of crossed legs and touching elbows. Being a dinner guest in a different culture invokes feelings of anxiousness and humility. I felt an obligation to remain respectful to unfamiliar traditions while also appreciating the novelty. There was something equally satisfying about not knowing what I was going to be served. I sat in a kind of culinary trepidation as the smells teased my senses.

A number of Titu’s family members came in and out—all active participants in the cooking which simultaneously took place in the other room. I was ravenous and slightly uncomforted when we were informed dinner was typically served at 9 or 10 p.m. Much to my selfish delight, a tray of piping hot masala chai appeared before us. I gratefully wrapped my fingers around the teacup as if caressing it. I let the steam penetrate my face with a cloud of cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorn. Wide-eyed and curious, I lifted it up to my nose before I took my first sip. The complexity of spices infused in the black tea created a nuanced tasting journey on my palette—from unexpectedly spicy to a nectarous sweet. The milky tea traveled through my veins, pumping chai instead of blood. A plate of tea biscuits and masala chai-spiced chips accompanied the tea. The spice blend, I would soon discover, was no longer limited to its tea roots, but was rendered a flavoring for the most unlikely of foods. The teacups were filled the rest of the night, like bottomless coffee at a diner.

After rummaging through a box, Titu pulled out a large black album. He opened it and showed us old pictures of him and his family, some torn at the edges but discernibly taken in the very mountains that had become our temporary home. Continuing his show- and-tell efforts, Titu revealed an old black speaker that he said he found in the trash and then fixed. He plugged in his phone and scrolled to play what was purportedly the “only American song” he had. Suddenly, the familiar tune of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” started to play. We began to sing together, all sways and smiles, a song that felt so out of place yet so deserving of that moment. I knew it would be stuck in my head for the next week, and I was wholly okay with it.

We began to sing together, all sways and smiles, a song that felt so out of place yet so deserving of that moment.

Our kumbaya camaraderie continued as Titu recollected some of his impressive hiking feats, including carrying a woman on his back for 13 days when she was on the verge of death. In between oohhs and aahhs, a new aroma encircled the room—a kind of warm ambrosia that felt like it was sent from the Hindu gods rather than their Greek counterparts.

Plates and bowls of food began to appear in impressive mounds. A table visibly too small was placed in the middle of the room. We collectively stood up to help arrange the platters, our incentive to be useful more of a nuisance as we bumped into each other, distracted by the heaping pile of steaming hot roti, a traditional flatbread made with whole-wheat flour and water.

We were beckoned to grab a plate and serve ourselves. We hungrily encircled the table as Titu tried to translate the menu in broken English. One end had a bowl of fluffy white basmati rice, an Indian staple as common as bread and butter. Each grain retained its shape, perfectly intact and not mushy—an accomplishment that deserves as equal praise as al dente pasta. No meal in India is ever complete without dal, a nourishing lentil stew that is both hearty and wholesome—the plant-based protein for most vegetarians. Every spoonful tasted smoother and creamier than the next. The most memorable dish, however, was the medley of pumpkin squash: little golden nuggets lightly fried with cumin seed and turmeric. It was spicy yet sweet from caramelization. Some of them were mashed and others stayed whole in shape. I was mesmerized by the potency of its golden-orange hue. I savored every bite, chewing slowly and thoughtfully so as to remember the taste I would hope to recreate, though I knew it was impossible.

We all ate in emphatic delight, sopping up the lingering sauce and rice pellets with pieces of torn roti, wiping the bottom of our plates clean. I looked around as we all sat in this tiny room, filled with random trinkets and unmatched carpeting, sipping what was left of our now cold masala chai. This was nothing like eating Tandoor with my family out of takeout containers, but it still felt like home.
A mist now hung over the valley, letting in a breeze tainted with the scent of weed that grew as wild and free as grass in India. Convinced I was second-hand high, my belly full of dal, my heart warm with John Denver, I sat a contented dinner guest—relishing a fullness that I knew wasn’t just from the food.